A NEW rewilding initative has been launched in Somerset to battle the climate crisis.

Launched at the start of the pandemic, Heal, a rewilding charity, has recently purchased 460 acres of land near Bruton. The plan is to create a nature reserve in the area, the start of many across the nation.

The reserve is just the start of a blueprint for establishing a nature reserve in every English county by 2050. Approximately 25,000 acres will be protected to allow local wildlife to flourish.

Jan Stannard, Heal's co-founded and chair of trustees, says: “We have worked day and night over two challenging years to secure funding and to find this beautiful place for wildlife and for all of us, to show that together we can take fast, practical action to benefit nature, climate and people.

“Having acquired the land, the first step has been to talk through our ideas with our neighbours and the local community, listen to their views and discuss any questions they have."

Some events have already been held to discuss the project and respond to questions. 

Connecting with the community is a large part of what Heal does. Initial project ideas includes working with local people to plant a community orchard and create an indoor meeting space.

The charity will follow proven nature recovery approaches, using rare breed cattle, pigs and ponies in small numbers to help re-establish natural processes on the land. 

Regenerative trees and plants will also be grown in the area to create a varied, healthy ecosystem.

Some funding for the acquisition has come from Heal’s unique ‘Heal 3x3’ land sponsorship scheme.

For £20, people can sponsor a 3m by 3m patch of land at Heal Somerset and find its exact location using its what3words address online at what3words.com.

Jan continues: “We have had support from thousands of people and more than 20 businesses, who believed in us when all we had was a vision for what could be achieved.

"This is the news they’ve all been waiting for and we are so grateful for their trust and backing. Now we need many more people to support us so that we can achieve our bigger goals.”

For more information on the project, visit the Heal Somerset website.